Razer's newest concept isn't a product that will sell to customers. It's a racing simulator on a huge scale that the company hopes can be used in esports leagues for a realistic, immersive driving experience.
I'm no pro racer, but I got to sit in the hydraulic driver's seat and take the Razer eracing simulator concept for a spin.
The driver controls come from Fanatec, and include an aluminum and carbon fiber steering wheel covered in leather, as well as dedicated gear shifting buttons, a three-pedal system and paddles. But perhaps the most immersive part was the racing harness. It kind of fits like a backpack, and the harness is connected to a motor in the rear of the seat that pulls you in to simulate G-forces when braking, going around corners, and that feeling you get when the back wheels spin out at higher RPMs. The seat and chassis were designed by Vesaro. Razer hasn't designed the parts, but it did put it all into one system and brand it.
In Project CARS Pro, I drove a Porsche GT3 RS. A Razer rep suggested going slow and taking turns smoothly because of the way the car steers. And he was right. When I missed a turn and drove onto the grass, it rumbled and the steering wheel fought with me until I was on the road again.
If I want to keep this up, I should probably learn to drive stick. That said the six-gear transmission/setup was easily controllable with paddles on each side of the steering wheel, and the 202-degree projection screen meant I could look left and right to my side-view mirrors, which felt natural. My best lap, however, was a lackluster 1:45, which I'm told was good for a beginner, though the leaderboard had times that were up to 20 seconds shorter.
For me, this was an adrenaline-rushing, very expensive, arcade machine. But I'm not the target audience here. Razer is pushing this for esports, making these sims more realistic and competitive and to push eracing further. Sadly the company hasn't announced any specific racing sim tournaments or events just yet.
Update: Jan 9: Razer has clarified that the laptop in view was only controlling the leaderboards, and that an unseen desktop was running the demonstratiron.
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Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE
20 seconds faster... shorter???Reply
I'm slightly saddened you didn't come upstairs in the South Hall and experience DisplayLink's version of the Vesaro set up. We ran with three 55" curved displays to provide the wrap-around and two of them were running using DisplayLink technology to power the screens, to show how low latency the docking technology can be. Maybe next year? :)Reply